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How to poach eggs easily, plus tips for making them for a crowd. Go to our Poached Egg Recipe or read on for our tips for preparing them.
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A while ago, I spent an entire day in the kitchen trying (and failing) to poach an egg. Everyone said it was easy, but all I had left was a messy pot of water with egg whites everywhere. Fortunately, I got it in the end and haven't had a problem since.
Three tricks for perfectly poached eggs
I use three tricks when poaching eggs:
- Break the eggs into clean individual bowls. Never break the egg directly into the water. In this way, you can control how fast they slide out of the bowl, preferably slow and controlled.
- Don't bring the water to a simmer and definitely don't boil. You want to see bubbles that form at the bottom of the pan, but don't actually break on the surface.
- Use a timer. We set our timer for 4 minutes, then check if the egg whites are cooked. Most of the time, 4 minutes is perfect for a poached egg with egg whites and a liquid yolk. Just use a slotted spoon to get the egg out of the water, you will clearly see if the whites are opaque.
How to poach an egg perfectly every time
Bring a pot of shallow water to temperature until just simmering. Then add 2 teaspoons of unflavored vinegar to the water. This will help keep the egg whites tight around the yolk. Think of vinegar as a failsafe product – it makes the egg white harden. If you're wondering how to poach vinegar-free eggs, don't worry. You can leave it out. Our method should work for you anyway.
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Break each egg into a clean cup, and then slowly slide the egg into the hunting water. Set a timer for 4 minutes.
Right after adding the egg, use a spoon and push the egg whites up onto the yolk, making a tight little lump, then leave the egg alone. When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and check to see if the whites are set and opaque. If not, put the egg back into the water for another 20 seconds.
When the egg is ready, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the water. Gently tap the spoon on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Then serve on toast, pasta, or whatever you like.
You can also enjoy our easy vegetable frittata recipe. It is full of vegetables, cheese, and fresh herbs.
If you are preparing poached eggs for a crowd, you can prepare them ahead of time. Poach all the eggs as usual, but don't cook them a little. It would take 45 seconds to a minute off the cook time. Just make sure the whites are almost done. Remove the eggs and put them in a container filled with cold water. Refrigerate.
When ready to serve, add the eggs to the boiling water to reheat and finish poaching (about 1 minute).
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Updated recipe, originally published in November 2011. Since I published this in 2011, we have tweaked the recipe to make it clearer. – Adam and Joanne
How to poach an egg perfectly every time
- PREP 6mins
- COOK 4 minutes
- TOTAL 10 minutes
This is an easy method for poached eggs. You can do as many as you need. If you are poaching several eggs at once, try not to crowd the water. It may be better to make more than one batch. Fresh eggs work best for this, as they hold their shape better than older eggs. Think of vinegar as failsafe. Helps coagulate whites and maintain their shape. If you don't want to add it, you can still make poached eggs without it.
1 (or more) eggs
1 fresh egg (or more)
2 teaspoons white vinegar or rice wine vinegar, optional
Bring a 3/4 large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to low and lower the water to low heat. You should see bubbles forming at the bottom of the pan, but not many breaking at the surface. Add the white vinegar to the water (optional).
Break the egg into a small bowl, then carefully slide it into the water. Set a timer for 4 minutes. Then use a spoon to carefully push the egg white up onto the yolk, making a more compact shape.
After 4 minutes, remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Place the spoon on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and gently pat dry.
Adam and Joanne's advice
- The 4 minute cook time makes poached eggs with cooked whites, a sticky yolk, and a liquid core. Add time if you prefer the eggs to be overcooked.
- Advance: If you are preparing poached eggs for a crowd, you can prepare them ahead of time. Poach all the eggs as usual, but don't cook them a little. It would take 45 seconds to a minute off the cook time. Just make sure the whites are almost done. Remove the eggs and put them in a container filled with cold water. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, add the eggs to the boiling water to reheat and finish poaching (about 1 minute).
If you make this recipe, take a photo and tag it #RecetasLatinas – We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook!
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